(Reuters) - Former world number five Ian Poulter celebrated his return from a four-and-a-half month injury absence by vaulting into a share of the lead at the $1 million Macau Open on Thursday.
The 40-year-old Englishman birdied all the par-five holes at Macau Golf and Country Club to join Spaniard Carlos Pigem on seven-under-par 64 at the Asian Tour event.
Pigem, who claimed his first win in Asia in July, produced a spectacular outward half of 28 that included five birdies and an eagle.
Thailand's Chapchai Nirat was in third place on 65, one ahead of Australian Marcus Fraser and India's Anirban Lahiri.
Poulter, a non-playing vice captain for Europe when they lost 17-11 to the United States in the Ryder Cup earlier this month, was delighted with his comeback after being sidelined by his arthritic right foot.
"You have no idea what to expect," he told reporters. "As much as you think you can prepare, I've never had four and a half months off in my life.
"The most important thing I'll take away from this is how solid I played, how nicely I putted. I've worked in all areas of my game to get ready and obviously it's a great start."
(Writing by Tony Jimenez, editing by Pritha Sarkar)